ME: Hey, is that your Explorer parked in my spot?
HIPPIE: Yeah. I was unloading my taping equipment.
ME: What were you taping?
HIPPIE: I just got back from The Further Festival in Somerset. You know, Bob Weir—The Other Ones, Rat Dog. Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum.
ME: I’ve never heard of it.
HIPPIE: The bands allow taping in an official taping section on the lawn. Taping is usually allowed if you don’t affect anyone else’s line of sight or bother others, but the tolerance factor often varies from venue to venue.
For the Summer Tour you don’t need tapers tickets, but you have to have a lawn ticket—the tapers section is limited to the lawn area—in order to get your taping equipment in the door.
Some places have taping restrictions. It’s easier to get your taping equipment in if you are in the first wave getting in the door. If you get there too late, you will most likely be told that the taping section is full and you’ll have to take your taping gear back to your car.
Last year we showed up early at one venue only to find out that security wasn’t informed that it’s OK to let tapers in. We insisted on talking to the head of security. He told us to get lost. Then we tried another entrance in the hopes of finding a cooler security guard. No luck. We had to stealth it.
ME: What do you do with the tapes?
HIPPIE: Well, I want to make it perfectly clear that I don’t encourage or condone the bootlegging of recordings. When bands like Rat Dog and The Other Ones give their permission to tape their concerts, there is an implicit understanding that we do so only for our own listening and trading pleasure – not to profit from this by selling a copy of the tape afterwards.
Ninety-five percent of all tapers are honest audio hobbyists who are only looking to record a unique audio event for their own listening enjoyment and have about as much in common with bootleggers as good doctors have with quacks.
The great majority of us tapers agree that the selling of the music that a band allows us to tape for free is an extreme act of back-stabbing and is considered taboo. I say “let’s use our heads,” you know? All it takes is one bootleg CD from a recent taping-allowed show and the band could not allow taping from that moment on.
The truth is, there are some dishonest people in any human endeavor or field of human interest. But, we certainly don’t close our churches because there are some priests who are pedophiles.
ME: No, I suppose not.
HIPPIE: I believe allowing taping and encouraging tape-trading can be advantageous to the bands.
First, it tends to increase their fan-base, mostly because the majority of fans feel more allegiance or dedication to a band that freely gives something back to them without asking for anything in return.
Second, tape trading is one of the most effective modes of word-of-mouth advertising that exists and tends to increase the enthusiasm factor among fans and creates a sense of community among those who tape and trade tapes.
Third, it increases the take at the gate because of the widening of their fan-base, and because it attracts the interest of more tapers in the area, many will attend the concert if they know they’ll be allowed to tape.
Finally, taping encourages fans to trade their live recordings among themselves, so the most ardent ones—who would be a prime target for bootleggers to sell their wares to—will already have a copy of all the most sought-after shows. Therefore, the bootleggers will have fewer potential buyers to peddle their illegal wares to.
Another point is that bootleggers tend to ignore laws and are not the kind of people who will wait until you allow taping before deciding to bootleg you.
There’s a saying that I put on all my tape covers: “In music there is peace… and in taping there is documentation… of unique sound events.”
I made that up myself.
ME: Yeah. Can you move your car?